Bake Sale

Book Reviews

Bake Sale.
Varon, Sara (author).  Illustrated by Sara Varon.
Aug. 2011. 160p. First Second, hardcover, $19.99 (9781596437401); First Second, paperback, $16.99 (9781596434196). Grades 5-8. 741.5.
REVIEW.  First published September 15, 2011 (Booklist).

Cupcake’s friend Eggplant is going to Turkey to visit family, and he has invited Cupcake along to meet the famous baker Turkish Delight. Cupcake works hard to earn the money for the trip, but when a problem comes up, he has to decide if friendship is more important than meeting his hero. Varon, creator of Robot Dreams (2007), has crafted another beautiful homage to friendship. The story is simple, but Varon’s inspired setting—an alternate New York City where all the residents are food products—brings it to rich, bustling, poignant life. Readers will feel like they are walking through a cleaner, more pastel version of the city and will want to linger over the small details that highlight each panel. Recipes are included for the items Cupcake makes to earn money for his trip. As always, Varon’s work is appropriate for children but will appeal to anyone of any age who has ever loved a friend. — Snow Wildsmith

Horn Book Guide:
Varon, Sara Bake Sale
158 pp. Roaring Brook/First Second (Roaring Brook Press) 2011. ISBN 978-1-59643-740-1 PE ISBN 978-1-59643-419-6
(3) 4-6 In this graphic novel, Cupcake (a cupcake with a round pink head and cherry on top) has a bakery in New York City, a friend named Eggplant (a big purple eggplant), and a dream of meeting his idol, pastry chef Turkish Delight. When business is slow, Eggplant helps Cupcake expand his offerings. Readers will eat up Varon’s cleanly illustrated, nicely detailed tale of friendship.

Reprinted from The Horn Book Magazine [or Guide, as applicable] by permission of The Horn Book, Inc.,

School Library Journal:
VARON, Sara. Bake Sale. illus. by author.
158p. First Second. 2011. Tr $19.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-740-1; pap. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59643-419-6. LC number unavailable.

Gr 2-6–Cupcake, a cupcake that owns a bakery in Brooklyn, is in a band with his best friend, an eggplant. When he finds out that Eggplant is going to be seeing Cupcake’s idol, the pastry chef Turkish Delight, in Istanbul, he tries a series of new projects and ways to sell baked goods in order to buy a plane ticket to join him. His efforts reinvigorate his excitement for creative baking, but they keep him from playing in the band. It’s difficult to guess what readers will think of a book that both stars foodstuffs and yet is about the consumption of food. Cupcake doesn’t seem at all conflicted about being friends with an anthropomorphic carrot while also chopping one up to make carrot cake, but some kids might find it confusing and distracting. The book is filled with details, labels, and readable actions, which makes it nicely interactive. The friendship between Cupcake and Eggplant is interestingly complex, with a great dream sequence spelling some of it out. Gentle, domestic, and with a plethora of particulars and seven recipes at the back that are featured in the story line, this book has a will-o’-the-wisp charm and a distinctive, quirky voice.–Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH


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